15th Annual UAS Oratory: The Story of UAS

BY FELIX THILLET
Radio UAS
For the UAS Whalesong

The story of UAS is the story of the people that represent it. It is the story of the people who both work and study within the physical and virtual structures of the institution. It is the story of the people who live side by side, creating the community which UAS Juneau calls home. The story of UAS is the story less told, especially by those who have heard it the most.

The story of UAS is the story of the academic advisor, one who meets with a prospective student over the phone because physically that student is over 3,000 miles away in another state.

The story of UAS is the story of the professor, one who is fun and energetic, yet also serious and well respected. It is through this professor that the students learn mathematics, biology, and anthropology, as well learn about the way of life in Southeast, Alaska. They learn about a way of life that unites the past, the present, and the future in ways mere words cannot describe.

The story of UAS is the story of the 4th year, 5th year, and 6th year senior, one who perhaps has had some trouble along the way for whatever reason life has decided to throw at them, yet they are still here, studying, learning, and working their way through a journey that will eventually lead them to their goals and maybe even their dreams.

These are the true stories of UAS. These are the stories less spoken, especially by those who have heard them the most.

However, the stories of UAS more widely known are the stories that share how UAS is a popular destination for Marine Biology, and fisheries, or how we are in beautiful Southeast, Alaska. And although these are strong and compelling aspects that make UAS a truly unique institution, I can’t help to think that beyond it all, these stories only come to represent UAS in the same way the back of a book represents the contents within. You know, like the fascinating yet ambiguous description one finds on the back of any book. They offer hints and reviews of what awaits inside but they give no genuine telling of what the book is all about. In the same way, these bigger stories don’t share the genuine experience of what it is to work, study, and live at UAS. So why would we want to share these experiences with the rest of the world?

The simplest answer I can think of is why not?  Why not share the amazing research our professors are doing every day? Why not share the successes of our students, even the little ones, to show how far UAS can take you?  Yet how do we share and convey the importance of these stories that make UAS special?

One way is through radio. For example, every Tuesday from 12 Noon to 1 PM, I broadcast Radio UAS from studio 104 A in Egan library. I broadcast live through via KXLL-Juneau and in that one-hour that I am granted, I get to share what events are taking place at UAS, as well as share updates of campus news such as how much money the University raised for the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser or how UAS will now be the headquarters in Alaska for the College of Education.

There is also the long running student led school newspaper known as the UAS Whalesong which shares stories of campus events, news, editorials, and more. These outlets help to promote the institution in genuine ways. The downside is that in being student run, the groups often go through transitions and lack of interests. Currently, there are no contingencies set in place to protect groups like Radio UAS or UAS Whalesong. How do we ensure the future of these outlets that not only share the everyday experiences of UAS but whom also offer real world experiences to the students involved?

My recommendation is for collaboration within UAS to bring forth ideas in developing a sustainable path for clubs like Radio UAS to ensure their existence and services to the university and greater Juneau communities. Working to ensure the future of the outlets at UAS will allow the University to connect with the community in incredible ways. We will be able to share the true stories that occur at UAS day by day, and year by year with Juneau community, all of Alaska and the world.

Delivered in a presentation as part of the 15th annual UAS Oratory.

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